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Old 09-18-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
Bronco Rob
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Default Battle of systems: Seahawks' zone vs. Broncos' power

Battle of systems: Seahawks' zone vs. Broncos' power


Sunday will be a contrast in blocking schemes: Seattle's zone versus the Broncos' new, more physical style.

By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Posted: 09/18/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT



Just like all the other home openers in the last 15 years, the Broncos' long-held identity will be showcased.

There will be five offensive linemen, moving in unison to the left or right, a running back following until making a cut.

The opponent to this zone-blocking, one-cut system Sunday afternoon will be a group of larger, heavier linemen who play a physical brand that was known to occasionally give the Broncos' identity fits.

Only it won't be the Broncos attacking with their patented zone-blocking system Sunday. It will be the Seattle Seahawks, who now employ so many former Broncos coaches and linemen.

When the Seahawks break their huddle, they line up against mostly a larger group of Broncos' ends and tackles, guards and centers.

This isn't a guy losing his girlfriend to one of his best friends. This is inviting the old girlfriend and friend over to dinner primarily to show off another girlfriend.

"We still use the zone," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "One of our most effective plays last week was a zone run. The difference is, we don't do it exclusively. Other teams do it almost exclusively."

Their zone-blocking forays aside, the Broncos have transitioned to more of a straight-ahead, man-on- man, power-pull concept.

"I like them both," Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady said. "I like the mix. They are different, though."

Clady was selected No. 12 overall in the 2008 draft by then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, whose staff included play-caller Jeremy Bates and receivers coach Jedd Fisch. Shanahan is now coaching the Washington Redskins, while Bates and Fisch are helping Pete Carroll carry out the zone-blocking system with the Seahawks.

Former Broncos coach Alex Gibbs was with the Seahawks through the offseason before retiring.

Carroll said in his conference call this week with the Denver media that the zone- blocking system is a commitment, a philosophy. Those who are committed become defiantly devoted.

"You just take a look over the last, well, since we've been running it, over the last 15 years, who's No. 1 for the last 15 years?" Shanahan said three weeks ago in an interview with The Denver Post. "It's not even close. It's not even close relative to yards, points, first downs.

"If you're going to get a stock, what are you going to do? You're going to look over the last 15, 20 years and see what's No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and usually if you're going to invest your money, you're going to invest in something that's been done, that's performed at the highest level over that time, for those 15 years, and say, 'Hey, that has a chance to keep on going.' And hopefully it will. I believe it will."

It's true that in the 14-year, Shanahan era from 1995-2008, the Broncos accumulated an NFL-best 30,993 yards, an average of 138.4 yards per game.

And the zone concept got off to a rousing start in 2010 as Shanahan disciples Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison are coaching a Houston Texans team that last week sprang unknown running back Arian Foster for 231 yards against the Indianapolis Colts.

But there are other numbers associated with the zone-blocking system that didn't add up. Look first at the type of linemen who are better suited for the zone.

"Zone blocking involves a lot more athletic movements," Clady said. "Everyone is running. Everyone has a zone you run to. Whoever is in your zone, you block. If there's no one in your zone, you keep running until you get the next guy. We still have that now. It's just not as much."

Those who don't believe in the zone scheme point out its smaller, more athletic linemen tend to wear down as the season goes along. See the Broncos' 2-8 finish after 6-0 start in 2009. There were the Broncos blowing a three- game lead with three to play in 2008; a 2-4 finish after a 5-5 start in 2007; a 2-5 skid after a 7-2 start in 2006.

And on it goes since the 1998 Broncos won the Super Bowl. In fact, the '98 Broncos were the last zone-blocking team to have won a Super Bowl.

Has it been mentioned lately that the Broncos have only one playoff win since 1998?

The tipping point for McDaniels may have been his team's struggles on short- yardage and goal-line situations last year. As the theory goes: Power and mass, not quickness and athleticism, move piles — and better protects the inside pocket for the quarterback in the shotgun.

And so the Broncos made a conscious decision to get bigger up front.

"That's how I grew up as a coach," McDaniels said, referring to his eight seasons as a New England assistant.

And so for the first home game of the 2010 season, it's the visiting Seahawks who will bring the zone-blocking system — only the Broncos' identity for so many recent and vintage years, that's all — to Invesco Field.

Where have you gone, Ben Hamilton? Oh, yeah. The longtime Broncos left guard also is with the Seahawks.






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Old 09-18-2010, 07:01 AM   #2
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Ah, how I miss the zone...
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco Rob View Post
Battle of systems: Seahawks' zone vs. Broncos' power


Sunday will be a contrast in blocking schemes: Seattle's zone versus the Broncos' new, more physical style.

By Mike Klis
The Denver Post
Posted: 09/18/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT



Just like all the other home openers in the last 15 years, the Broncos' long-held identity will be showcased.

There will be five offensive linemen, moving in unison to the left or right, a running back following until making a cut.

The opponent to this zone-blocking, one-cut system Sunday afternoon will be a group of larger, heavier linemen who play a physical brand that was known to occasionally give the Broncos' identity fits.

Only it won't be the Broncos attacking with their patented zone-blocking system Sunday. It will be the Seattle Seahawks, who now employ so many former Broncos coaches and linemen.

When the Seahawks break their huddle, they line up against mostly a larger group of Broncos' ends and tackles, guards and centers.

This isn't a guy losing his girlfriend to one of his best friends. This is inviting the old girlfriend and friend over to dinner primarily to show off another girlfriend.

"We still use the zone," Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. "One of our most effective plays last week was a zone run. The difference is, we don't do it exclusively. Other teams do it almost exclusively."

Their zone-blocking forays aside, the Broncos have transitioned to more of a straight-ahead, man-on- man, power-pull concept.

"I like them both," Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady said. "I like the mix. They are different, though."

Clady was selected No. 12 overall in the 2008 draft by then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, whose staff included play-caller Jeremy Bates and receivers coach Jedd Fisch. Shanahan is now coaching the Washington Redskins, while Bates and Fisch are helping Pete Carroll carry out the zone-blocking system with the Seahawks.

Former Broncos coach Alex Gibbs was with the Seahawks through the offseason before retiring.

Carroll said in his conference call this week with the Denver media that the zone- blocking system is a commitment, a philosophy. Those who are committed become defiantly devoted.

"You just take a look over the last, well, since we've been running it, over the last 15 years, who's No. 1 for the last 15 years?" Shanahan said three weeks ago in an interview with The Denver Post. "It's not even close. It's not even close relative to yards, points, first downs.

"If you're going to get a stock, what are you going to do? You're going to look over the last 15, 20 years and see what's No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and usually if you're going to invest your money, you're going to invest in something that's been done, that's performed at the highest level over that time, for those 15 years, and say, 'Hey, that has a chance to keep on going.' And hopefully it will. I believe it will."

It's true that in the 14-year, Shanahan era from 1995-2008, the Broncos accumulated an NFL-best 30,993 yards, an average of 138.4 yards per game.

And the zone concept got off to a rousing start in 2010 as Shanahan disciples Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison are coaching a Houston Texans team that last week sprang unknown running back Arian Foster for 231 yards against the Indianapolis Colts.

But there are other numbers associated with the zone-blocking system that didn't add up. Look first at the type of linemen who are better suited for the zone.

"Zone blocking involves a lot more athletic movements," Clady said. "Everyone is running. Everyone has a zone you run to. Whoever is in your zone, you block. If there's no one in your zone, you keep running until you get the next guy. We still have that now. It's just not as much."

Those who don't believe in the zone scheme point out its smaller, more athletic linemen tend to wear down as the season goes along. See the Broncos' 2-8 finish after 6-0 start in 2009. There were the Broncos blowing a three- game lead with three to play in 2008; a 2-4 finish after a 5-5 start in 2007; a 2-5 skid after a 7-2 start in 2006.

And on it goes since the 1998 Broncos won the Super Bowl. In fact, the '98 Broncos were the last zone-blocking team to have won a Super Bowl. Has it been mentioned lately that the Broncos have only one playoff win since 1998?

The tipping point for McDaniels may have been his team's struggles on short- yardage and goal-line situations last year. As the theory goes: Power and mass, not quickness and athleticism, move piles and better protects the inside pocket for the quarterback in the shotgun.

And so the Broncos made a conscious decision to get bigger up front.

"That's how I grew up as a coach," McDaniels said, referring to his eight seasons as a New England assistant.

And so for the first home game of the 2010 season, it's the visiting Seahawks who will bring the zone-blocking system only the Broncos' identity for so many recent and vintage years, that's all to Invesco Field.

Where have you gone, Ben Hamilton? Oh, yeah. The longtime Broncos left guard also is with the Seahawks.






Wrong! INDY is a pure Zone blocking running system, they just throw the ball more!
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:10 AM   #4
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With the shape that our current Oline is in, I just hope they can block at all.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:13 AM   #5
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That's interesting, I never knew the difference. Being in the thin air in Denver isn't going to help either in the second half.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:16 AM   #6
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"If you're going to get a stock, what are you going to do? You're going to look over the last 15, 20 years and see what's No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and usually if you're going to invest your money, you're going to invest in something that's been done, that's performed at the highest level over that time, for those 15 years, and say, 'Hey, that has a chance to keep on going.' And hopefully it will. I believe it will."

Past performance is not indicative of future results...
How have your other investments paid off Daniel Snyder?
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:20 AM   #7
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This is one are I'm concerned about if Kuper doesn't play, or even if he does but he's less than 100%, it will make our oline even more patchwork. That could be trouble.
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:49 AM   #8
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Great Article. McDaniels is betting like many others that the running the ball is pretty much dead as a offensive weapon, and that it's far more important for the receivers to get the ball more often. Hence using receivers more as underneath short-out threats then down the field threats.

The sacrifice is in ball control - short outs don't eat much time on the clock, don't wear down defensive linemen, and don't draw pressure from underneath routes and go routes.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:04 AM   #9
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If they gash on the ground it's gonna be a really rough, rough day here.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylore View Post
This is one are I'm concerned about if Kuper doesn't play, or even if he does but he's less than 100%, it will make our oline even more patchwork. That could be trouble.
Let Kuper rest another week. It's at home, Seattle and an NFC team.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
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If they gash on the ground it's gonna be a really rough, rough day here.
Majority of the time I can tell if we are going to lose a game early, its because we can't stop the run. Other teams can overcome a team gaining a little over 100 yards we can't. We need as many offensive possessions as possible
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:23 PM   #12
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It's different now. More and more teams are going zone heavy so there are far fewer chances in the draft to grab OL that fit that bill because plenty of teams are trying to grab the same group.

Like any system it all depends on the talent and at our best watching Nalen/Lepsis and co demolish get to the 2nd level and beat up guys like Ray Lewis was a lot of fun to watch.

I've never seen Ray Lewis ever get a beaten like Lepsis put on him, not before then and not since. I remember that game because Ray Lewis starting whining in the post game media sessions and immediately starting complaining about the lack of protection from his DL.

Good times.
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